Remembering 74 sailors who were lost on the USS Frank Evans

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NIOBRARA, NE (KSFY) - Many showed up Sunday to visit the Sage Brothers Memorial in Niobrara, Nebraska to remember and honor the 74 lives that were lost at war. The three Sage Brothers were locals to the city and their memory has yet to fade from the community's mind. It is likely to remain that way for years to come.

74 sailors who died during the Vietnam War might have been forgotten if it wasn't for the small Nebraska town of Niobrara where the Sage Brothers Memorial stands.

"50 years since the ship went down," American Legion Commander, James Scott said.

Search crews only finding one body. The men were aboard the USS Frank Evans when it collided with an Australian ship by accident.

"Well through many stupid human errors people don't listen to other people it's just failure to communicate is what happened," Navy Veteran, Darwin Sietsema said.

Darwin Sietsema fought in the Vietnam War. He was on the South China Sea the night the ship went down at three in the morning in June of 1969.

"I tried to yell at them on the radio and they misunderstood everybody and that's when it happened and us and other ships. We got as close as we could and as quick as we could," Sietsema said.

He along with the residents in Niobrara never want people to forget this day. Darwin visits this memorial every year to remember that night on the China Sea even visiting at three in the morning, the same time the ship sank.

"We’re trying to get them on the Vietnam wall and excuses from the defense department that they were out of combat zone when this happened," Scott said.

Just days before, the 74 men were on the battle grounds fighting in the war risking their lives to make change.

"Their names never got put on the Vietnam wall. There have been many attempts to get the names on the wall but the government keeps stalling on it and they say it's not qualified," Sietsema said.

The Sage Brothers Memorial serves as a reminder to the town to get the 74 names on that wall for the men who were lost at sea.

"We'll never forget them in the state of Nebraska," Scott said.

The Vietnam War lasted 10 years beginning March 8, 1965 and ending in January of 1975.